Introduction to TCM

Basics of TCM

  • Yin-Yang | Five Elements

Zang-Fu Theories

  • Zang Organs | Fu Organs

Classification of Antineoplastic Herbal Medicines

Characteristics of Herbal Medicines

Diagnose

  • By Auscultation & Olfaction
  • By Inspection


Prescriptions

Theories of Channels (Meridians) and Collaterals

Reference: A Modern View of the Immune System

Differentiation of Syndromes

  • 8 Principles | 6 Channels 4 Stages
  • Syndromes of Zang-Fu Organs


Etiology

  • Exogenous | Pestilential | Emotional
  • Pathogenic Factors


Materia Medica



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Reference: Modern View of the Immune System

The Components

White blood cells known as lymphocytes form one of the most important components of the immune system. The cells destined to become lymphocytes originate in the bone marrow. Some of them travel in the blood to the thymus gland in the neck, where they mature into T-lymphocytes. The thymus gland seems to have a role in ensuring that only those T cells that recognize foreign proteins (as opposed to the body's own proteins) are released into the circulation. Some of the immature cells remain in the bone mar row for the rest of their development, however, and they become B-lymphocytes. Once mature, the T and B cells migrate in the blood to the spleen, the lymph nodes and other components of the lymphoid tissue, such as the tonsils. The spleen is an organ found on the left side of the body, just below the diaphragm. One of its functions is to filter circulating microorganisms from the blood. Lymphocytes present in the spleen are ready to respond to any foreign microbe that appears.

The lymph nodes, present throughout the body, filter the lymph - a clear fluid that drains from the body tissues. The lymph collects in the vessels of the lymphatic system, and eventually returns to the blood. It first passes through the lymph nodes and any microorganisms or cancer cells are filtered out. If an infection is present, lymphocytes respond by multiplying, which accounts for the swelling of the nodes - for example, in the armpits and under the lower jaw - that sometimes occurs. Vast numbers of other types of white blood cell, e.g. microphages (neutrophils) and macrophages, can engulf and destroy microorganisms. They also destroy red blood cells that have reached the end of their 120-day life span. These so-called phagocytic cells are found in the tissues, lymph nodes and spleen.

Antigens and Antibodies

An antigen is any foreign substance - for instance, the protein on the coat of a bacterium - that can stimulate an immune response. When T cells meet antigens they respond by multiplying and dividing, releasing molecules that stimulate other cells of the immune system (including other T cells) to grow.

There are may different kinds of T cells. Cytotoxic T cells can recognize and kill cells infected with viruses. T-helper cells can help macrophages to kill microorganisms. T-helper cells also have an important role in stimulating B cells.

Once stimulated, a B cell multiplies. Its offspring mature into plasma cells, which secrete antibodies. These are specialized molecules that can latch on to antigens and help the rest of the immune system eliminate the foreign particle. There is potentially an infinite variety of anti-bodies, one for every conceivable antigen. Once a B cell is stimulated, the result is a clone of plasma cells, all dedicated to manufacturing the antibody that recognizes the antigen in question.

Immunity and Memory

A few of the cells that result when a B cell divides in response to an antigen are so-called memory cells. These remain in the body for life: when the individual meets the same antigen again, they are ready to respond, faster and with more force than before. This explains why people who have one attack of rubella (German measles), for example, are immune to subsequent infections by this virus.

Immunization works on this principle. Vaccines aim to prime the immune system to recognize disease-causing organisms, so that it will spring into action when it encounters the microorganisms concerned. Several vaccines consist of bacteria or viruses that have been killed or weakened; they provoke a protective immune response, but no longer have the capacity to cause the disease.


The Modern View of AIDS

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), strikes at the heart of the body's defenses. The virus destroys the immune system, including the very cells that should be capable of eliminating it. In infected people the virus is found in the blood, semen and - to a lesser extent - vaginal secretions. It can be transmitted if any of these fluids gains access to another person's blood stream. This can occur through sexual contact involving exposure to semen, as the virus could enter even the most minute cut or abrasion in the vagina or the more delicate rectum. It can also be spread among drug users via shared hypodermic needles.

People infected with HIV may remain apparently well for many years. After a variable incubation period, which may average as long as 9 or 10 years, many affected people - although no one knows exactly what proportion - will go on to develop AIDS. The disease develops when the individual's level of T-helper cells falls drastically.

Without the T-helper cells, which orchestrate many of the components of the immune system, it becomes impossible for the body to fight off infectious agents. The person falls prey to a variety of opportunistic infections, so called because they have taken advantage of the failing immune system. Certain cancers, including the skin cancer known as Kaposi's sarcoma, may also develop in AIDS.

Medical scientists studying AIDS have been puzzled by the observation that HIV seems to infect only a very small proportion of T-helper cells circulating in the blood. Even if these infected cells died, the body would produce T cells at such a rate that they would easily be replaced.

One theory to explain the loss is that some effects of the virus on uninfected cells may be to blame. For example, viral proteins circulating in the blood may attach themselves to the cells that HIV attacks. Cytotoxic T cells may then see these cells as infected (even though they are not) and kill them.

HIV infects not only T-helper cells, but also macrophages. Sometimes the virus can multiply within the macrophages to the point where the cells are bursting with viruses. Possibly, the primary defect in AIDS may lie with the macrophages.

An AIDS virus (orange) budding from the plasma membrane (blue) of an infectedT-lymphocyte, viewed through a false-color electron microscope.




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WHAT IS TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE?
DI63-048 (c) Image DJ Image Dictionary
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With over 3000 years of experience, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has remain one of the many fascinating areas in ancient Chinese culture. First known to be documented in the Yellow Emperor's Canon of Medicine, TCM is believed to have been practised in as early as 475 to 221 B.C. The field of working knowledge of TCM stretches from anything related to general healthcare practice to the philosophy of the mind, the logic of life, religion, and even to as far as cosmology and astronumerology. This is why in order to thoroughly understand the concepts behind TCM, one must be comprehensive in learning and embracing the Chinese culture as a whole.

Just as Douglas Hoff put it when he explained about accupuncture, "The systems of TCM uses the concepts of elements and meridians and are completely immersed in the Asian cosmology which takes shape through the religions." The meridian-brain mechanism, the fundamental working concept of acupuncture, in which the pain block from the message that the needle or burning cone of herbs gives to the point of stimulus, was only found centuries later by the West through science and technology.

 
MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR – OCTOBER 2012

Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA Thank you for visiting this TCM and acupuncture information website. If you have previously been to this website, you might have noticed that some of the pages on ancient historical ideas and holistic thinkings related to Chinese metaphysics are temporarily taken offline. This is because I have recently started to revamp the whole website so as to reflect a more current perspective on the interpretation of some of the fundamental concepts as well as to include some of the latest information in the area. But if you have just found this website for the very first time, I welcome you again and wish you could find what you require and, hopefully, you could also be benefitted from reading the articles I published on this website.

Please be patient and do come and check out this website frequently as it's being revamped.

Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA FRSA FRSPH

March 28, 2014.

IMPORTANT NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER

This website is published, edited and designed by Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA and reflects only and only his personal views and opinions in his individual capacity. The information available at this website is not intended directly or by implication to either diagnose or treat any medical, emotional, or psychological condition or disorder. It is also not intended to create a physician-patient relationship between you and I or between you and The Commentary Limited. The information here is not a substitute for advice and treatment provided by your physician or by another healthcare professional. It is always recommended that consultation with local healthcare providers be obtained for any of your specific health or medical concerns. Furthermore, any products that can be purchased (yet you can see I don't have much to sell here) through advertisers' banners or through links to other websites are not either explicitly or implicitly given any warranty or endorsement by me, my colleagues, The Commentary Limited or any of its associated businesses.